Healthy Lunch Ideas For 1 Year Old

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Healthy lunch ideas for 1 year old should be wholesome and nutritious. Served with whole grains and well-balanced proteins. This could include fruits, vegetables, yogurt and cheese, whole rice and breads, lean meats and cheese, cottage cheese, bean spreads. Healthy lunch ideas for 1 year old are also packed with fresh seasonal vegetables that are not just pretty looking but healthy too.
Lunch time is not a time to waste. It’s an opportunity to give your kids essential nutrients that their bodies need. There are many benefits of having healthy meals, so don’t be tempted to give them anything less than what they deserve.
A balanced diet is an essential part of a one-year-old’s life. It provides enough calories for growth, and optimal nutrition for brain and muscle development. However, many kids grow out of their taste for vegetables in favor of more appealing–but less beneficial–foods as they get older. Healthy lunch ideas for 1 year old include the food groups your doctor recommends, especially fruits and vegetables.

Healthy Lunch Ideas For 1 Year Old

avocado toasts on a plate
The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Kids have their own ideas about what makes a great lunch, which can be a challenge for parents who want them to eat healthy. If you’re looking for nutritious ideas that children will actually enjoy and finish, try these recipes that are sure to win approval from the short set. From pizza pockets and veggie fried rice to macaroni muffins and hummus wraps, these dishes go way beyond the typical ham and cheese sandwich. Not only will the tasty options please even the pickiest of young eaters, but many are also suitable for kids eating vegan, gluten free, egg free, or dairy free.

Many of these recipes are also quick to put together and make a great packed or on-the-go lunch for adults, too.

Vegan Hummus Avocado Wrap

Vegan Hummus Avocado Wrap
The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Use ripe avocado or even leftover guacamole, and protein-rich hummus to make these vegan hummus avocado wraps. Add some sprouts or salad greens for crunch, but if sending to school, leave out the tomato to avoid sogginess. Plain hummus is delicious here, but a flavored variety, like roasted red pepper, will also work nicely.

Vegan Asian Rice Salad

Cold Asian Rice Salad
The Spruce Eats

A healthy vegan Asian rice salad with plenty of vegetables is a fabulous way to give vegan kids a boost of energy at lunchtime. Brown rice is full of protein and fiber,1 and kids love the crunchy texture and sweet and sour flavors of the dressing. Carrots, snow peas, celery, bell pepper, and green onion make this rice salad bright and colorful, but feel free to swap any out for your kids’ favorites.

Kid-Friendly Energy Bites

Kid-Friendly Energy Bites
The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Skip the store-bought, highly-processed, sugar-loaded confections and make your own kid-friendly energy bites at home instead! With just a handful of wholesome ingredients (and a bit of chocolate), these energy bites can be mixed up in a matter of minutes. The peanut butter provides a boost of protein while the oatmeal offers some fiber, meaning these energy bites will leave your little one feeling full and satisfied through the rest of the day.

Cheesy Meatball Bombs

Meatball Bombs
The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

These cheesy meatball bombs that start with packaged biscuit dough explode with flavor. Filled with the Italian favorites of meatballs, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese, your kids will think they’ve won the lottery. When using leftover meatballs or pre-made frozen, this recipe comes together quickly. Serve these meatball bombs with some marinara on the side for dipping.

The Ultimate Avocado Toast

avocado toasts on a plate
The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Kids love creamy avocado, and this easy toast recipe is a hit. The ultimate avocado toast can be served simply as is or layered with slices of crispy bacon to make a great open-faced lunch sandwich. If packing up for school, you may want to add another piece of toasted bread on top to avoid messy travel and eating.

Easy Meatloaf Muffins

Meatloaf Muffins
The Spruce Eats

Give kids a comforting, home-style lunch with this recipe for cute easy meatloaf muffins that are made from a classic meatloaf mixture baked in muffin tins. The ketchup topping is sure to be a draw for the little ones, and the fact that they can eat their lunch with their hands makes it fun.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

A thermos full of chicken noodle soup is the next best thing to a hug from mom. Make this tasty soup on the weekend and freeze it in individual portions for heating and packing into a thermos for school lunches any day of the week. This recipe is the real deal, starting with chicken pieces, but also includes some chicken broth (along with water) for an extra boost of rich flavor.

Pasta Salad With Chicken and Spinach

Pasta Salad With Chicken and Spinach
The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Send yours to school with this packed pasta salad full of chicken, spinach, tomatoes, and other crunchy veggies. Use cooked leftover chicken, canned chicken, or rotisserie chicken for this tasty salad recipe. The recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to change some of the ingredients to suit your child’s taste.

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
The Spruce Eats / Anita Schecter

Your kids will cheer when they sit down to these pepperoni pizza sliders, which layer ingredients from a pepperoni pie onto slider buns to create mini-pizza sandwiches. They can easily be made ahead and then baked and pulled apart for lunchtime. The combination of cheese, sauce, and pepperoni, with a garlic butter brushed on the roll, also makes for the perfect after-school snack.

Salmon and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Salmon and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Cream cheese and smoked salmon have traditionally been a favorite topping for bagels, but this combination can also make a wonderful filling for finger sandwiches. This recipe is a quick and easy addition to a light lunch for your more adventurous eater. Place the tea sandwiches in a cold bag with an ice pack to keep them chilled until it’s time to eat.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup
The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Cook up a big pot of this warming vegetable beef soup on the weekend for thermos lunches. The recipe is packed with potatoes, green beans, carrots, celery, and onion, but you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as corn or zucchini. The recipe freezes well so divide the soup into portions, freeze, thaw, and heat for quick lunch prep.

Vegetable Lasagna

Low-Fat Vegan Eggplant Lasagna
The Spruce Eats

Make a nutritious vegetable lasagna on the weekend and freeze it in individual portions for easy weekday meals. Prep by heating a piece in the microwave and wrapping it in aluminum foil before placing it in insulated lunch bags and lunchboxes. This recipe is ideal for hiding veggies—those finicky kids of yours won’t even know they’ve had a healthy lunch.

Honeyed Fruit Salad

Honeyed Fruit Salad
Kajakiki / Getty Images

For those hot days when kids often crave a lighter lunch, this sweetened honeyed fruit salad with honey, lemon, and just a little sugar does the trick (eliminate the white wine). Use whatever fruit is in season being sure to include your kids’ favorites. Pack it into a plastic or glass container and add some cheese cubes and crackers to their lunch bags as a delicious snack.

BBQ Chicken Salad

bbq ranch chicken salad
The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

This BBQ chicken salad is so satisfying even the adults will be fighting over it. This recipe calls for poaching chicken breasts in a flavorful broth and then shredding and tossing the meat with bottled barbecue sauce; you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, as well as bottled dressing (instead of the homemade ranch) if you’re short on time. Chock full of vegetables, beans, and crunchy corn chips, this salad offers a variety of textures and colors. Pack the dressing separately, and let the kids shake it all together when ready to eat.

Pizza Wraps

Pizza Wrap Sandwiches
Paul Poplis / Getty Images

These easy pizza wraps are basically cheese quesadillas with spaghetti sauce added inside. Go ahead and stuff them with your little ones’ other favorite pizza toppings, such as diced green bell peppers, pepperoni slices, and mushrooms. They are baked in the oven open-faced, like a pizza, and then folded in half when bubbling and melted. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.

Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches

Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches
The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

The short set will enjoy the sweet, crunchy ingredients in these unusual chicken Waldorf sandwiches. The chicken-and-mayo filling gets extra zip from honey mustard as well as great texture and color from the chopped green apples, walnuts, and dried cranberries. When spooned between slices of cinnamon raisin bread, kids won’t be able to resist.

Vegan Banana Muffins

Vegan Banana Muffins
The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Vegan banana muffins are a great way to get healthy fruit into kids. Make them with or without walnuts, and feel free to toss some vegan chocolate chips into the batter if offered as dessert. Simple to make, these muffins are a great use for bananas a little past their prime and will satisfy even the non-vegans in the household.

Creamy Potato Soup With Ham

Creamy Potato Soup With Ham
The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

This creamy potato soup with ham is like eating a stuffed baked potato in a bowl. Fill kids’ thermoses with this rich soup, which—along with some crackers—makes an excellent school lunch on colder days. Chock full of vegetables and studded with chopped ham, the soup is a complete meal. You can cook either on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

Vegetable Fried Rice With Spinach

Fried rice with vegetables and sesame on stone slate background
Lisovskaya Natalia / Getty Images

This vegetable fried rice with spinach makes a healthy, meat-free thermos lunch idea for kids. In addition to or in place of the spinach, tomato, and green beans, you could use other vegetables you usually toss into a stir-fry, or some diced marinated tofu. When you have some leftover cooked rice this dish comes together very quickly, perfect for prepping before school.

Easy Pizza Pockets

Easy Pizza Pockets
The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Whip up a simple tomato sauce, crack open a tube of refrigerated biscuit mix, gather some favorite pizza toppings, and you’ve got everything needed to make these kid-favorite easy pizza pockets. For an even speedier preparation, use your favorite jarred pizza sauce. You may want to sneak in a few finely chopped vegetables to boost the pocket’s nutritional value.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad
Patricia Fenn Gallery / Getty Images

A Greek salad has plenty of bright, crunchy veggies, plus salty black olives and creamy feta cheese, all dressed simply in a drizzle of olive oil and oregano. A perfect lunch for your salad-loving kid and a nice change from the basic mixed greens. Pack the olive oil separately for drizzling on at lunchtime.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Katie Workman / themom100.com

Tender chocolate chip banana bread is a lunchbox snack kids will love and a great way to use very ripe bananas. Pack slices as a sweet treat along with a sandwich and an orange or apple to keep the meal balanced. You could make this bread into muffins, too.

Crescent Roll Pigs In A Blanket

Crescent Roll Pigs in a Blanket
The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Little ones will gobble up these crescent roll pigs in a blanket. They will even have fun helping you make them, as they simply require rolling crescent dough around a hot dog and a slice of cheese. Be sure to add extra for sharing and pack them along with little containers of mustard and ketchup for dipping.

Ham And Turkey Wrap

Low-cal ham and turkey wrap
The Spruce Eats

Deli-style turkey breast and honeyed ham slices are layered onto a whole-wheat tortilla wrap with a Dijon mustard-mayo spread and some greens, then rolled up for an easy ham and turkey wrap. Slice it into pinwheels if you like, for a fun presentation. This recipe calls for low-fat deli meat, but feel free to use your family’s favorites.

Mini Cucumber And Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Cucumber Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
The Spruce / Loren Runion

Kids love this mini cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches recipe, which can be cut into long “finger” shapes (or any fun shapes using cookie cutters) for their lunchboxes. Slices of white bread are spread with cream cheese and topped with cucumber slices; you can keep it simple, or add more flavor with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

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